High School Parent-Teacher Conferences?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by INteacher, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Oct 24, 2010

    I am curious after reading the post about Parent-Teacher conferences on the elementary thread as to how many high schools have scheduled Parent-Teacher Conferences for all students?

    Over the years, I have really pushed for our building to have at least once a year regularly scheduled Parent/Teacher conferences for all students. I am met with the following reasons why it wouldn't work:

    *how do we schedule the meetings - each teacher would need to meet with at least 120 parents, some even more

    *No one would show. We do host an Open House at the very beginning of the year with very few parents attending. I feel most parents don't attend because it is so early in the year and we don't really have anything to say about students yet.

    *how would it fit it with our contractual day?

    *how would we contact parents and create the best schedule for the parents - since each student has seven different teachers, how would me maximum their time? The thought is to just allow parents to mingle but how would we ensure each parent receive one-on-one time with each teacher?

    Anyone have any suggestions or would like to offer how their high school runs Parent/Teacher Conferences?
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 24, 2010

    We have conferences 4 times a year: after the 2 progress reports and after the first 2 treimester report cards.

    At each of those points, a teacher may request a conference with the parent and the student. (Our kids are strongly encouraged to attend, since this most definitely involves them and will require their input and cooperation.)

    Of course, "walk ins" are always welcome.
     
  4. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Oct 24, 2010

    I can't imagine having conferences with my students' parents like I had with my daughters' teachers when they were younger. Even though I have the students for one fourth of their day, the conferences would be just as long with the parents as an elementary teacher's. At least twenty minutes.

    Even if only 75/100 students were represented, that would be 1500 minutes for conferences. With no transition time. That's 25 HOURS. Plus the time getting ready for the conferences (making copies of work, organizing my thoughts for each student and writing them down, making copies of other students' work and covering up the names, etc). And THEN the five-ten minutes for filing all the info back and writing down what Mom and Dad said at the conference.

    Alice, your posts are always so interesting to me. Maybe it is because you have so many years in or maybe it is the dynamics of your school. I don't see how I could feasibly do it at mine. And walk-ins are NOT always welcome with me. I have sent parents away with an appointment time in hand before. They seem to understand but if they did not, I'd explain politely why appointments are best.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 24, 2010

    One of the reasons I love it here is that I see a world far different from my own.

    I taught from 1980 to 1987 in one school, and have been in another since then. So, while I do have a lot of experience, it isn't nearly as varied as some of the other people here. I love reading how things work in other schools.

    As the mom of a public school 7th grader, I would LOVE the opportunity to meet each of his teachers. (Even Meet the Teacher night was a bust; my husband and I were both working our own Meet the Teacher nights.)

    But I think it would be a logistical nightmare.
     
  6. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I am fortunate in that I didn't start teaching until my oldest was in high school. So I know most of the teachers my youngest will have in middle. I got my master's with many of the teachers at the high school. So while I have not met all of my kids' teachers, I do know most.
     
  7. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Oct 24, 2010

    Alice, are these conferences scheduled? If so, are you responsible for doing the scheduling?

    This of course is the biggest draw back. But I would love to come up with a system that would allow me to meet with my students parents at least once one-on-one. I do send home newsletters to my AP student's parents, "Good News" postcards and "Here's what's happening this nine weeks" emails, but I would still like to have a face to face meeting.
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 24, 2010

    I agree; it would be nice to meet everyone face to face. But, with my SAT prep kids-- 5 classes I meet one period a week-- and my daily geometry classes, that's over 400 kids. It simply isn't possible to schedule.
     
  9. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Oct 24, 2010

    Then do it on your own. Have a project presentation night. If you don't need actual conferences but instead just want to meet the parents, it wouldn't matter if it was one at a time or all at once. Have the students sign up for one of three different nights. They come in, present, maybe have cookies, and you meet the parents.

    I will tell you though, that you might meet with some resistance with parents of this age. A good number of parents feel that at this age the students should be the ones responsible for their schoolwork. As in "let me know if there are problems, but otherwise, he's on his own." Another evening activity for the week may not be a welcomed thing.
     
  10. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    I have done this in the past. I did this about fifteen years ago for about three years and then because it was such a hassle, I quit. It was very difficult getting my corporation to allow me to open the building after hours for visitors just for me and the corporation made it almost impossible, so I just quit. I did have at least half my parents show up so I felt like it was a success. I guess that's were I am coming from, I know it can be successful and just wish my admin would just let us try.
     
  11. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    Oct 24, 2010

    We have parent-teacher conferences as well. My first round is actually coming up in a few weeks.

    We have 2 days worth - one evening session that runs from 6 to 9 pm (teachers can choose to start early if they wish) and then the following day all day. The evening session is usually a Thursday night and the day session the following Friday.

    Teachers can request a meeting with specific parents if they wish. Parents can call the school and make an appointment with their child's teachers. Scheduling is done through the office. Otherwise, if the teacher is free and a parent without a scheduled conference wants to talk, they're more than able to.

    Our parent-teacher conferences are right after first report cards go out, so we usually catch the most of the parents we're looking to talk to. I teach Grade 9 in a 9-12 school. My other grade level teachers and I are ALWAYS booked solid. It gets less and less so as you move up grade levels. Grade 12 teachers have very few conferences, although I think that has to do with the fact that many of the students have turned 18 by that point and legally we cannot talk with their parents without the student's permission.
     
  12. beccmo

    beccmo Comrade

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    Oct 24, 2010

    My daughter's high school has 2 after school conferences planned: after the first quarter and after the third. Each is after school. I can pick up her report card and then walk to any of her teachers to have a chat (they are grouped by subject in the gym). It is very crowded.

    My school has conferences over the course of 2 days during late fall. Parents drop in without appointment. Out of 120 possible conferences last year I had about 45.
     
  13. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Thanks again for the replies. Once again, I will suggest to admin we try conferences the way your schools (alice, beccmo and shanoo) conduct conferences. Some combination of parent scheduling before hand, or sign in sheets the night off obviously works and I think it will works towards creating a better connection with our parent community.
     
  14. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Oct 24, 2010

    My daughter's high school has 'formal' conference evenings scheduled about a quarter of the way through each semester. Either the parents or the teacher can request a conference, but teachers do request that parents do not schedule an appointment if the student marks are over 75 or 80%. The meetings are 5 minutes in duration and generally run pretty smoothly (except for the year when my son kindly scheduled my interviews with his teachers back-to-back to minimize the time I was at school--he didn't stop to think that I couldn't teleport from one place to another). While not ideal, it does give an opportunity for parents and teachers to meet.
     
  15. Brendan

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    Oct 24, 2010

    We per trimester, have 2 nights of conferences, one night we have a day session as well and the kids have a half day.
     
  16. eddygirl

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    Oct 25, 2010

    At my high school, we have a "meet-the-teacher" night the first week of school. Parents walk through their student's schedule and spend seven minutes with each teacher. This is the time to "eyeball" each other and go over basic expectations for the class.

    After the first quarter report card comes out, we have parent-teacher conference day (we'll be doing that this week); parents do not sign up for conferences and sometimes have to wait in line. Conferences start at 2:00 P.M. and end at 8:00 P.M. (we teachers take a staggered dinner break by department). Our admin. asks us to keep conferences to five minutes or less. If you need more time, we are encouraged to schedule a separate conference time with the parent.

    As a freshman teacher, many of my parents come to conferences. In many cases, they just want reassurance that their student is doing well in class. The ones whose student is doing poorly often do not even show up; those we follow up with e-mails, phone calls, or deficiency reports.
     
  17. Reality Check

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    Oct 25, 2010

    We have two "Back to School" nights and two conference nights, one each semester.

    I'm still staggered at the notion that this goes on at the high school level. We would've died of embarrassment and felt insulted when I was in high school if our parents had to come in for "conferences" and our school ran itself like an elementary school.
     
  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Oct 25, 2010

    When I was in high school, we had at least one scheduled parent-teacher conference.

    It happened in the evening, like from 5 until 8 or so. All the teachers would sit at tables around the perimeter of the gym, like facing the center. Each teacher had a sign with their name and subject. Parents would just show up at each teacher's little booth to talk about their kid. If one teacher had a long line, the parent would just move on to one of the other seven teachers until that teacher was available.

    It worked out well. Students were encouraged to attend with their parents.

    I think it was always scheduled right after first quarter report cards came out.
     
  19. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Oct 26, 2010

    Of course, I didn't know about the last Parent-Teacher Conference until the night-of. Somehow, that form didn't make it home :p and I missed it on the calendar. Oh well, I know that if there were any concerns, I would have heard about it long before now.
     
  20. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Our kids would much rather attend a conference than fail a course in June and fail out of the school in July.
     
  21. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Oct 26, 2010

    As students, it was our feeling that we would rather be treated as adults and demonstrate our own personal responsibility. :cool:
     

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